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I have written my own license recently which can be found here. If I applied my licence to my work (in the same way I'd apply the MIT license on a GitHub repo for example) would my license be valid and enforceable?

If so, are there any issues or big loopholes or missing part issues with my license?

Finally, if I were to use my online alias DevelopedLogic rather than my real name, would the license become invalid and unenforceable?

marked as duplicate by curiousdannii, Bart van Ingen Schenau, apsillers, Mureinik, r3bl Feb 9 '18 at 23:46

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    Don't do that (especially without the help of lawyers). In many large organizations, there is an explicit list of acceptable licenses for open source software. Choose an existing license approved by the Open Source Initiative, otherwise nobody will use your software, so it is not worth publishing it. (IANAL = I am not a lawyer) – Basile Starynkevitch Jan 27 '18 at 13:47
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    Closely related: How can a “crayon” license be a problem? – apsillers Jan 27 '18 at 13:48
  • BTW, it could happen that you would not even be allowed to use github freely for your software. Check the github conditions. But IANAL. – Basile Starynkevitch Jan 27 '18 at 13:49
  • For the final part of this question, it was already answered on your previous question, Licensing code on GitHub in a valid way (or, if you're asking about using your name in legally-significant context other than a copyright notice, you'll need to specify what specific context you mean -- and you should probably make a new question to do so) – apsillers Jan 28 '18 at 13:25
  • @apsillersYes, I know, however I wasn't sure if the license being custom would significantly change the answer or not. – DevelopedLogic Jan 28 '18 at 13:52
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Deciding whether or not a license contains any legally invalid terms (or terms whose practical semantics differ from your intent) is an incredibly difficult problem. This is a job for a skilled copyright lawyer. You wouldn't ask strangers on the internet, "Do the schematics for this rocket I'm building look like they'd be able to escape Earth's gravity and withstand re-entry into Earth's atmosphere?" Neither should you be asking a layman for careful legal consideration of your license terms.

Carefully examine the issues raised in How can a "crayon" license be a problem? to see what can go wrong when drafting your own license terms.

Without addressing the legal validity of the terms, I see several practical issues:

  • Seven out of nine in your license related to tedious bookkeeping of lists of files and don't actually relate to what copyright rights are being licensed. In practice, virtually all free and open source licenses solve this problem by simply marking the files themselves with a comment along the lines of "This file is under [license X]" or using a separate mapping file if the files themselves cannot be marked (e.g., for non-text files like images). You're adding a ton of extra complexity; I do not see what benefit you get from this.

  • The license terms themselves are not FLOSS terms, since they forbid redistribution of the work expect when included in a larger project.

Consider using a legally-vetted open source license instead. Not only will you will have certainty that you license legally operates as intended, but also everyone who uses your licensed work will automatically understand a baseline of what is allowed and what is not allowed.

  • I did not think of the file marking, and that is something I can implement to shorten the licence dramatically. As for redistribution, copying, modifying and redistributing non-commercially is fine, but commercially is not allowed unless part of a larger project. Your other points I understand. – DevelopedLogic Jan 27 '18 at 14:14
  • @DevelopedLogic: In practice it is very probable that your code would remain unused, and never part of something bigger. For example, I would not even look into it, even if professionally I am contributing to free software, and only using them (e.g. I don't use proprietary software at all on my Linux desktop at work) – Basile Starynkevitch Jan 28 '18 at 7:18
  • @DevelopedLogic As another "wouldn't use it" -- consider a small software of game studio who isn't sure if your homemade license is legally valid. They'd probably prefer to reimplement it themselves rather than figure out if they can safely use your software. If you use a well-known open source license, they probably already understand whether they can safely use your code or not (or can look it up very quickly in an official FAQ for the license). – apsillers Jan 28 '18 at 13:20

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